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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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What would you do? (Dog related)

So along with 3 cats I have a large breed dog. She is an almost 2 year old Golden retriever. She is an amazing dog, never destroyed or damaged anything(other then her toys by accident), loves all animals, not an aggressive bone in her body. Now her problem is she loves loves loves people. She gets over excited when anyone visitis. The more people over, the more excitable she gets. This past weekend my friend came for a visit... she grew up with small dogs but has 4 cats so is more of a cat person. She liked my dog but my dog would not leave her alone and even I was getting annoyed. We tried everything training wise and her love for people over powers any training.

So here is the problem. I have two sisters both who have two kids. My one sister is a cat person, the other doesn't care for animals. The one who doesn't care for animals, well her kids weren't exposed to many animals(only a few toy breed dogs and the occasional cat). Those kids are terrified of my dog, the others are ok. Anyways. I had them all over once after thanksgiving dinner at the animal hater(ok shes not a hater)'s house, to see our house as they hadn't seen it before. Well it was worse than I could ever imagine. My dog was alone all day and then me, bf and abou 6 people pile in the house. Oh boy, she went nuts and terrified everyone. I kept throwing her outside and bf kept letting her back in. I eventually locked her in the bedroom so I could finish showing them the house, then they all promptly left.

Well my cat loving sister keeps suggesting that she wants to do the next family gathering at our house, because she lives so far away and the other sister's house is cramped. They didn't out right say it but they pretty well implied that we would have to lock the dog up when they were over. My bf out right refuses this. He says it's our house and if they want to come over then they will have to put up with this. While I partially agree, if this was the case, two of the kids would be crying and screaming the whole time. They met the dog as a puppy when she was 4 months old at my moms and were on the counter screaming and hyperventelating. My dog is now 4x the size of when they originally saw them. I also don't not want to ever have them over because we will have my dog for a long time, and in realty we probably will always have a large breed dog.

So what would you do? Would you lock the dog up for the day in the room, or would you tell them if you want to come over you will have to suck it up? Again, my dog is other wise really behaved and is very very friendly.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 07:58 PM
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The question is how the dog will behave if locked in a room all day? Will she chill and sleep all day or will she whine, bark and scratch at the door the whole time? If she will behave well, then your boyfriend is either really immature or he just doesn't want your family to visit. Mature adults recognize that not everyone wants to be subjected to their pets, whether well behaved or not.

If she will be stressed behind closed doors all day, then I think you have to decline hosting the gathering. The kids will more than likely grow out of their fears and the dog will get older and calmer. Maybe you can host a few years from now.


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 08:10 PM
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What would you do? (Dog related)

I guess I don't understand what she exactly does because she loves people?? Like what does she do to the kids and the "animal haters" that scares them?


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I don't understand what she exactly does because she loves people?? Like what does she do to the kids and the "animal haters" that scares them?
Well she is a jumper and she always licks/puts her paw on your lap, wags her tail and wants attention. I know, she is very scarey . Dog lovers love her and have no problem with her, the ones who don't like dogs don't want to be bugged by her and get annoyed by her as she loves attention. The kids are terrified just because of her size... not really to do with her per se, but my sister pretty much taught them that dogs are scarey and that is why they react so badly around big dogs.

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The question is how the dog will behave if locked in a room all day? Will she chill and sleep all day or will she whine, bark and scratch at the door the whole time? If she will behave well, then your boyfriend is either really immature or he just doesn't want your family to visit. Mature adults recognize that not everyone wants to be subjected to their pets, whether well behaved or not.

If she will be stressed behind closed doors all day, then I think you have to decline hosting the gathering. The kids will more than likely grow out of their fears and the dog will get older and calmer. Maybe you can host a few years from now.
Honestly I have no idea. Usually when we have family gatherings, it's afternoonish to around 8-9ish at night. She is very good and she will just lay behind the door with her nose in the corner of the door wanting to see people. She won't cause a disturbance, that's not an issue. She will litterally lay with her snout in the the corner of the door until someone gets her. I would have to leash her to take her potty and even just seeing her would terrify the kids... but too bad either way if they were over I would have to take her out.

Well he doesn't mind them over, my parents come over occasionally, but they love dogs so it's not an issue. He just has this attitude that it's our house and if you don't like it then don't come over. I don't think she will be stressed, just sad because of all the voices. I'm sure my mom and dad would visit her in the room and even the kids who like her would but theres a chance someone would accidently let her out and I would most likely be busy making dinner or something to watch the whole time. That's what I originally wanted... to wait a few years until she calms down. She has calmed a lot but still has a ways to go.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 08:56 PM
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What would you do? (Dog related)

It's a matter of training of the dog. I have a very people oriented dog who gets excited when anyone comes over, but he's been trained a solid "place" behavior so that he'll stay on his bed until released. It's just impulse control and polite greetings. If she gets over excited or jumps up she gets ignored, no contact at all until she calms down. Work on building duration on a sit or down stay with the distraction of people around. Use getting to meet the person as the reward for staying and being calm. If she breaks the stay, the person leaves and the doesn't get as close on the next try.
I've trained dogs to associate a knock on the door or a doorbell ring as the cue to go to a bed or crate and stay.
When you guys get home, ignore her completely for at least five minutes so that the crazy "oh my God you're home! It's like I haven't seen you in years!" behaviors aren't being reinforced and strengthened by your attention.
If the dog can be trained to be calm and have manners then no, I wouldn't lock my dogs up for anyone. My house, my dogs, my rules, but then my dogs know how to behave around guests. I would probably just say no to having family over if the dog isn't at that point in training.


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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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What would you do? (Dog related)

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Originally Posted by kayla baxter View Post
It's a matter of training of the dog. I have a very people oriented dog who gets excited when anyone comes over, but he's been trained a solid "place" behavior so that he'll stay on his bed until released. It's just impulse control and polite greetings. If she gets over excited or jumps up she gets ignored, no contact at all until she calms down. Work on building duration on a sit or down stay with the distraction of people around. Use getting to meet the person as the reward for staying and being calm. If she breaks the stay, the person leaves and the doesn't get as close on the next try.
I've trained dogs to associate a knock on the door or a doorbell ring as the cue to go to a bed or crate and stay.
When you guys get home, ignore her completely for at least five minutes so that the crazy "oh my God you're home! It's like I haven't seen you in years!" behaviors aren't being reinforced and strengthened by your attention.
If the dog can be trained to be calm and have manners then no, I wouldn't lock my dogs up for anyone. My house, my dogs, my rules, but then my dogs know how to behave around guests. I would probably just say no to having family over if the dog isn't at that point in training.


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Oh yes, the door knock and the door bell is the worst. We always instruct people it to ring it. I know her behaviour is our fault from when she was a puppy. When we would get home she would be super excited and we would shower her with attention. We stopped that but she can't see, to break out of it. She sits and stays any other time except with people. We've tried ignoring her but she tends to bug more until she gets attention. I admit sometimes that I greet her still when I get home and she comes running excited. Another problem is the family that loves her. They always praise her while she is excited and jumping. I've told them not to do that and they just say well she's so cute. Ill keep trying with the training. I still don't think it would change the situation with the kids because they are scared of big dogs in general.


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:43 PM
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I agree with doing some more training, but in the mean time, put her up so she doesn't terrify small children. I lock my cats up when I'm serving a meal because I KNOW how my cats are and most people don't care for cats on the counters, licking the turkey, etc, etc. Yes they are part of my family, but these events are so rare that its no real trouble to put them in a separate room for the afternoon. Honeslty, its easier on me too, otherwise I'm constantly shooing them off the counters and out of peoples laps.

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:50 PM
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What would you do? (Dog related)

The increased pestering when you ignore is called an extinction burst. It's when something that usually works doesn't and they give it an extra strong try before finally giving up. For barky dogs it would be an intense bark off before accepting that it isn't working and trying a new strategy. You need to ignore through the increased negative behavior. If she'll hold a stay with people 30 feet away, work with that. Slowly let the person get closer and reinforce for staying. In the mean time, keep her on leash when people come in and step on it to stop her from jumping and keep her away from guests until she is calm enough to meet them politely.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:56 PM
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First of all I feel bad for the kids. To be scared of animals is not a great way to go through life. My daughter has the highest energy dog I have ever seen: it is the breed. They have crate trained it although he whines now as he is more spoiled. They tire the heck out of the dog with long runs (walks or dog park) before bringing him places and they will put him on a leash if they have to in the house. Now please understand this is actually a well trained dog. They can tell him, "leave it" and he will walk away from my cats and my little dog. When I have to dog sit, I can't tire him out so I buy a big what I call a knuckle bone with the marrow showing from a butcher and he will chew on that for a couple of hours. It may be hard to do that outside but I actually will cover my whole rug with plastic and then an old bedspread so he can do it inside. I agree that the family has to work on a solution.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 10:30 PM
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There's a few things you can do with very little effort that will improve things. The first is to tire her out before you have company. I mean, tired to the point where she won't chase a toy, or play with another dog. You need to do that right before your family comes over. TBH I would put yer away while the family is over now...but work towards her being out. Behaviors like that often don't magically appear, you'll need to teach her what to do.

The second thing is to give her something awesome so shell be busy and calm whole she's away.

Ok, training her to be around guests. There's two parts to this; prevention and communication.

Prevention means putting her in a room when the guests are arriving. This dies a few things, the main one being allowing the guests to come in without being pounced and making sure her bad behaviors aren't being rewarded. It also keeps her out of the most exciting part, basically making it easier for her to behave.

Communication comes in once your guests have been settled. Bags down, shoes and coat off, drinks handed out, etc. Explain to your guests what the rules are about the dog, always from the standpoint of them helping you teach her good manners. No jumping, no feeding her, etc.

Once they are settled and understand the rules one of you goes to get your dog and brings her out ON A LEASH. This is prevention again. You can control her or bring her away if she's misbehaving or someone is allowing/encouraging her to break the rules. If she settles down you can drop the leash, but leave it attached so she's dragging it. This way you can go over and easily intervene if you see her getting too excited.

During dinner, or if there's food out, I'd just put her away entirely. It's too much temptation fur her, and for your guests.

As far as your sister and her kids go, try to see it from their perspective. If these kids aren't used to dogs a large one who jumps and gives kisses IS terrifying. Do you think expecting the kids to 'get over it' will teach them otherwise? Or would it help them learn differently if your dog was calm, under control, and they could approach her while she was lying down?

If you get your girl tired enough, and hold yummy treats right to her face, she can lie down and be much less scary to nervous kids.

Also, I know no one likes to consider this, but I'd your sister doesn't like dogs how do you think she'd react to having her kid knocked over? Pawed in the face? Etc. You would know your girl didn't mean any harm, but your sister and her scared kid would be much less likely to give 'that scary, out of control, beast' the benefit of the doubt. At the least you could be looking at a huge fight. At the worst...I've spoken to people who had relatives report a bite that was a scratch, or a play mouthing.
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